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Full text of "Verdict On India"

214                                    TEBDICT OX INDIA
charge that we did not achieve miracles. And when Lord Wavell '
came to Delhi, we nearly did. Why ? Because once again we had
the courage to rule as we thought fit, without timidity or sub*
servience to Nationalist criticism.   Wavell treated the whole
problem from a military angle, issuing crisp, decisive orders and
showing, from the outset, that he would c stand no nonsense/ And
the vast majority of Indians breathed a sigh of relief. Now, at last,
something would be done. Now, at last, the interminable wrangles
in the Assembly would echo into limbo, and be silenced by the
clear-cut commands of British officers.   True, the Press was not
noticeably  co-operative.    There  were  sneering references to
WavelTs eyeglass, which was described as yet another example of
4 Vice-regal pomposity.5 (He wears it to conceal the fact that one
eye was blinded in battle.)   There were many suggestions that
the only reason the British were concerning themselves with the
problem at all was because they feared the famine might adversely
influence their military position.
However, if one read between the lines, one detected a sense of
gratitude. It was the same sort of gratitude which has so often
caused crowds of religious rioters to cry,b Thank God they're here! *
when British troops have arrived to restore order. Needless to say
this gratitude is never expressed in print; the humble masses who
are saved from bloodshed are not of the class who write letters ta
the papers. All the outside world knows of these matters is that
some Congress leader has been hit on the nose with a bamboo rod,
and this is reckoned as yet another black mark against Imperial
brutality.
But the Indian knows—the real Indian, the .peasant in his
paddy field, who only prays to be left in peace. The Indian
knows, and the Indian will remember. Let us hope that he will
have too bitter cause to remember—and to regret—in the stormy
days that lie ahead.